*uck your pitch deck! Why would anyone buy your product?

One of my events — Alani Kuye, Phlatbed

I would rather have new customers than new investors. Telling your company story should not always be about gaining investors. You should approach every investment opportunity like you’re pitching a new customer, not an investor. Ask yourself, would Bill Gurley buy my product? Would Aaron Levie use my app? If Drew Houston of Jack Dorsey saw my product how will I convince them to pay to use it?

Most entrepreneurs rarely have enough allotted time to tell their story. Why not just tell them why they should buy your product? I have seen and implemented this approach successfully countless times.

You’ve spent weeks preparing the perfect pitch deck for every type of investor you’re likely going to encounter during your fundraising effort. Each deck presents the same information in a different manner for each audience. In most cases, you go through tens or hundreds of investor meetings without landing a single one. What if those hundreds of meetings were spent in front of potential customers? Perhaps you would have landed half of them!

Change your approach right now! Needless to say, you will likely encounter various types of investors;

  1. Angel Investor — Usually more down to earth and interested in your story. They have personal connection to your mission and at the early stages are a good resource to ramp up, find product market fit, and get you positioned to the next phase of the business. This pitch deck covers the fundamentals but presents a compelling case for them to join your mission.
  2. Institutional — Think VC’s, Private Equity. Contrary to what you may think, they are usually not down to earth. Purely numbers driven, interested in the story beyond the fundamentals. They think at scale and are driven by exits. They’re usually not in for the long game contrary to what they claim. Pitch deck for this groups is usually more structured and businesslike. There may be some personality synergies, but it’s purely business.
  3. Strategic Investors — Similar to Institutional, purely numbers driven and scalability driven. The deck for this group is similar to any institutional partner that focuses more on scale and structure beyond the story.
  4. Hybrid Investors — These are the pitching contest crowd, I won’t waste time with these folks. Only 2 in every hundred are legitimate investors. It’s more of being “seen” mingling with the investment crowd than actually doing anything.

Regardless of which one of the above you encounter, approach them like you’re selling them your product, then watch the magic happen. Anyone who will pay to use your product sees value in it…food for thought! If Dan Bilzerian saw my product, how much would he be willing to pay to use it?

The above is a short summary and not fully representative of all investors but largely covers what you should expect. The rest is up to you.

Cheers!

Alani Kuye is CEO of Phlatbed, the On Demand Delivery App for Large Items.

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